Teacher burnout is real, but there are solutions

By Laura Lee Summers
February 2023
“How are the children?” is a question the Maasai people of East Africa ask in traditional salutation. The expected reply is, “All of the children are well.” The understanding is that if the community is peaceful and well, it will manifest as the children being valued, cared for, and thriving (Cobb & Krownapple, 2019; O’Neill, 2015). Similarly, when schools are working well, their success is reflected in thriving children. Schools that set a goal of thriving aim to create a school culture “where all students benefit from a culture of belonging, while also providing engaging, well-rounded educational experiences that reflect who they are and are relevant to the world around them” (Nashville Public Education Foundation, n.d). This type of school culture will only be created

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Brown, B. (2020, March 29). Brené Brown: The secret to having compassion. 60 minutes.

Cobb, F. & Krownapple, J. (2019). Belonging through a culture of dignity: The keys to successful equity implementation. Mimi and Todd Press.

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. Routledge.

Kush, J.M., Badillo-Goicoechea, E., Musci, R.J., & Stuart, E.A. (2022). Teachers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational Researcher, 51(9).

Marken, S. & Agrawal, S. (2022, June 13). K-12 workers have the highest burnout rate in U.S. Gallup Education.

Nashville Public Education Foundation. (n.d.). A framework for thriving schools.

O’Neill, P.T. (2015). And how are the children? Unitarian Universalist Association.

Laura lee summers

Laura Lee Summers is an associate clinical professor within the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado-Denver. She is also a digital designer and facilitator for Learning Forward’s virtual course: 8 Dimensions of Educator Wellness and the upcoming virtual course: Adapting Best Pedagogical Practices in an Equitable, Digital Environment. Her most recent publications for The Learning Professional are “The right blend: SEL supports teacher learning in person and online” (August 2020) and “Eight dimensions of wellness for educators” (February 2021). 

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